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Don't fear the cliches!

Posted 5th August 2009 at 12:35 PM by Peter Neal

"Originality is very overrated". Is that thought utter blasphemy for a writer...? I don't think so, depending of course on what your goal in writing really is.
Cliches...horror fans throughout the www know them by heart and love to complain about them in various reviews and debates- yet they seem to be magically attracted to any new slasher-, backwoods-, torture porn flick coming along, though years of watching movies should have told them by now that they'll be once again in...
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"Target groups": Blessing or curse for the writer and audience?

Posted 4th August 2009 at 10:05 AM by Peter Neal
Updated 4th August 2009 at 10:23 AM by Peter Neal

Watching and reviewing 1982's "Poltergeist" some months ago got me really thinking again about how much the present fixation on "target groups" has drastically changed the kind of (movie) entertainment we're served in the present day.
Whereas the 70's/80's blockbusters (particularly the Spielberg- and Lucas supervised and influenced ones) went to high lengths to furnish stories, which would appeal to and satisfy the entertainment needs of a whole "average family",...
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How to start Scriptwriting Part 5: Writing the Script

Posted 23rd June 2009 at 10:23 AM by Peter Neal

You're prepared, you know where you want your story and characters to go: Time to write!
But before you start writing you should remember that there'll ALWAYS be a 2nd draft, a 3rd, probably many, many more.
Which means- to me at least- that the first draft is still very much a testing ground.
Thanks to the treatment, you don't have to think about the whole of your script for each and every line, you can concentrate on your script scene by scene, as the path you've intended...
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How to start Scriptwriting Part 4: The Treatment

Posted 8th June 2009 at 06:31 AM by Peter Neal
Updated 8th June 2009 at 07:54 AM by Peter Neal

A treatment in the "professional" sense- the kind you send on its journey to production companies and cultural/media funds- is telling your movie's story from start to finish, scene by scene, on 10+ pages (depending on the length you're aiming at).
You should avoid reflecting too much about what's happening INSIDE your characters, most important is what's actually supposed to happen on screen.
If you have a clever "surprise ending/revelation", do yourself a favour...
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How to start Scriptwriting Part 3: The Locations

Posted 31st May 2009 at 10:41 AM by Peter Neal

Okay, some might consider my following notion as "limiting" to their creativity, but in fact it usually gets my inner "writing machine" really going, as it fills me with a feeling of: "Yeah, this really could be pulled off!"

So, you want to write a script for a short movie or a full feature, but you're not exactly blessed with a bank account bursting with cash, then you have to take the following advice by heart before you're even writing your script...
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How To Start Scriptwriting, Part 2: The Characters

Posted 23rd May 2009 at 05:10 PM by Peter Neal
Updated 23rd May 2009 at 05:28 PM by Peter Neal

The following notions do probably not apply to your script in case you're doing some "auteur"-style project, as the "auteur" is first and foremost only interested in realising "his vision" for himself and those in the audience who "get it".
The "auteur" can have his characters doing the most irrational things without any apparent reason, yet he SHOULD have a reason or "motivation"- even though it's only working for himself and...
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How To Start Scriptwriting, Part 1: Get Organized!

Posted 20th May 2009 at 05:32 PM by Peter Neal
Updated 20th May 2009 at 05:46 PM by Peter Neal

Have you ever had the urge to write a script for a short movie, a stage play, a computer game or something else but don't know where to start?

There are, of course, countless books and articles of varying size on the issue, often written by experts with many years of successful experience in the business.

Well, I'm not exactely "successful"- neither could I make a living of my writing....so far.

BUT I have many years of writing experience,...
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Beefed Up Scary Audio For the "Video Nasties" in 70's/80's Germany

Posted 2nd May 2009 at 10:16 AM by Peter Neal
Updated 2nd May 2009 at 10:28 AM by Peter Neal

Okay, I have no clue whether this newest entry to my blog will be of any interest to UK genre fans, but as a long term German collector of horror titles from the 70's and 80's I felt an urge to add a bit of info on what makes some of the German language versions of our beloved "Video Nasties" so unique compared to any other editions around the globe.

Very much unlike today (apart from cuts to escape the wrath of the German censors), distributors toyed a lot around with...
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"Sound is the best Storyteller" Part 1

Posted 22nd April 2009 at 04:35 PM by Peter Neal

As I'm slowly gearing up to pick up my scriptwriting in the summer time, I just got thinking about THE single most underrated storyteller of all time, the sound!

I had my first "ear opening" experience at the age of 9 in the winter of 1982 when I listened to the radio play "Die Begegnung mit der Mörder Mumie" ("Encounter with the Killer Mummy") for the first time.
No, it wasn't the first radio play I'd ever heard and it most certainly wasn't...
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I Know What I'll Do Next Summer...

Posted 17th April 2009 at 05:35 PM by Peter Neal

If nothing goes awfully wrong, I'll be probably starting to write another radio play for a friend and producer/director in Germany during the summer time.
The only thing, which is still open to me is whether it'll be a darkly humouruos tale about a female assassin and her kid sister OR a very grim audio version of a snowy "Revenge"-Spaghetti Western audio style!
I plan on taking you through the whole process, the character build up, the writing of pitches, treatments...
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"Horror Pop" from 80's Germany!

Posted 16th April 2009 at 06:08 PM by Peter Neal
Updated 16th April 2009 at 07:26 PM by Peter Neal

Believe it or not, but some of the radio play series on cassette were so popular that they got their own soundtrack tape and vinyl release!




You should listen to a few of the other tracks, too. Might give you an idea why the music was such an essnetial part of the appeal.

If you want to listen to a bit...
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Radioplay Script: First Slice

Posted 13th April 2009 at 05:00 PM by Peter Neal

Radioplay scripts are not much different from stage plays or movie scripts.
Their way of capturing the location and the action has simply another focus, as it's only the sound, music and dialogues we can depend on "telling" the story.

Here's an improvised example, which might already show how much fun you can have with writing a scary radioplay- in fact any radioplay.:

There might be different models etc, but that's about the way how my scripts...
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"The Sound of Horror" or "How did I become a genre fan in the first place?"

Posted 12th April 2009 at 08:25 PM by Peter Neal

As the blog is intended to also feature themes of personal interest, which don't seem to fit in the usual threads, I decided to dedicate a few minutes to the media, which turned me into a genre fan in late 70's/early 80's Germany, which wasn't books or movies.....but scary radio plays, which could be purchased on vinyl and cassettes quite cheaply.
While radiio plays in most countries never broke loose from the radio, they had a lasting effect on my generation, as not only horror, but also...
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Peter Neal's Blogged-Up Reviews Thread

Posted 12th April 2009 at 06:30 AM by Peter Neal

I'll continue my review ramblings in the blog section, kicked off (due to the usual easter-time family obligations) with an "oldie" from the good, old ABUK days:


"Final Destination"

Arguably the best, but certainly the smartest of the "Post Scream" wave of teen horrors, "Final Destination" takes the underlying fear-motor of all juvenile scarefests - premature death - to the next and only consequent level:
A group...
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